CGFNS Test Breakdown

The CGFNS Certification Program is designed specifically for first-level, general nurses educated and licensed outside the United States who wish to assess their chances of passing the U.S. registered nurse licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN® examination, and attaining licensure to practice as registered nurses within the United States.

The program is comprised of three parts: a credentials review of the nurse's education, registration and licensure; the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, a one-day qualifying exam testing nursing knowledge; and an English language proficiency exam. Upon successful completion of all three elements of the program, the applicant is awarded a CGFNS Certificate.

The CGFNS, Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, administers a Certification Program (CP) for first level general, registered nurses who have been educated outside the United States who want to now practice nursing in the United States. The Certification Program consists of a credentials review, an English language proficiency exam, and a CGFNS qualifying exam. The qualifying exam tests nursing knowledge and the understanding of how nursing is taught and practiced in the United States.

To apply for the Certification Program and the CGFNS qualifying examination, there are three methods that can be used. One can apply online at the CGFNS website. To do this, one must first create an online account, and then the application can be filled out online. The application can also be downloaded from the application handbook that can also be found on the CGFNS website. Or, one can contact CGFNS directly, by mail or by phone, to request a copy of the application and the accompanying handbook. Specific requirements and information needed for the application can be found online, as well as application deadlines for specific testing dates. The fees for the CGFNS qualifying exam must also be paid at the time of application, and this exam fee also contains the fee for the credential review. Specific fee information can also be found online. When applying to take the CGFNS qualifying exam, an applicant indicates their preferred test date and location in the applicant, with backup choices. Test dates and location information can also be found online on the CGFNS website. Once the application to take the CGNFS qualifying exam is accepted, the applicant will receive a letter of approval in the mail from CGNFS. This letter will indicate that the applicant has been scheduled (rostered) to take the examination. The exam date and location will be given in the letter. The exam date and location can also be checked online on the CGFNS website, and it is advised to print a copy of this online schedule as a confirmation.

The CGFNS qualifying examination is a paper and pencil examination. It contains all multiple choice questions and is given in two parts. The first part, or exam booklet, is called "Nursing, part I". This part of the exam contains 150 multiple choice questions, and test-takers have two hours and thirty minutes to complete this portion of the examination. This part is given in the morning of the test day. After completing part I of the examination, test-takers are then given a lunch break. After the lunch break, a second exam booklet, "Nursing, part II", is given to test-takers. This booklet contains 121 questions, and test-takers are given two hours to complete this portion of the examination. The CGFNS qualifying examination tests one's knowledge of nursing principles and skills and one's understanding of how nursing is taught and practiced in the United States today. The CGFNS qualifying examination is also designed to help one predict their likelihood that they will pass the NCLEX-RN examination in the future.

Approximately five to six weeks after taking the CGFNS qualifying examination, CGFNS will send out letters with test results to all test-takers. It can take up to four additional weeks for test-takers internationally to receive these letters. These letters tell candidates if they passed or failed the examination, and they also give a numerical score and a passing score for their examination. The test reports also contain a diagnostic profile with information on how the candidate performed in four different subject areas, or client needs categories: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. Score reports can also be viewed online on the CGFNS website.

To prepare for the CGFNS qualifying examination, reviewing what has already been learned in the candidate's nursing education courses is helpful. Topics to review for the examination include: medical nursing care of the adult, surgical nursing care of the adult, maternal and infant nursing, nursing care of children, psychiatric and mental health nursing, and the nursing process and patient needs that are taught in the United States. Also, familiarization with testing policies and test structure is imperative before taking the CGFNS qualifying examination. During the examination, pacing is crucial. It is important to attempt to answer all test items that are presented during the allotted time frame. Not answering test items can have an adverse affect on one's score. Also, since the examination is a paper and pencil test, it is important to mark all answers clearly so there is no confusion in the scoring of the exam.

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Last Updated: 07/05/2018


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